Catherine D’Amato’s passion for ending hunger was instilled in her from an early age by her Italian-immigrant father who never turned away a hungry person in need from his modest restaurant in Redding, California. A trailblazer and leader in food banking for 38 years, D’Amato has headed up The Greater Boston Food Bank (GBFB) since 1995.
Under her guidance, GBFB’s food distribution has increased from the equivalent of 7.5 million meals to more than 50 million healthy meals annually through a network of 526 member food pantries, meal programs and shelters across the 190 cities and towns of Eastern Massachusetts.
Hunger can be solved. GBFB is expanding its capacity, growing the volume of healthy foods, working in innovative and collaborative ways with partners and supporters to drive greater impact. We will do what we have to do to end hunger here.
D’Amato currently serves on the board of trustees of Fidelity Charitable and Eastern Bank; the board of directors of the Forsyth Institute and the Massachusetts Food Association; and as co-chair of the Boston Foundation Equality Fund.
She is a former board member of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston and Basic Health International and an emeriti board member of the Boston Foundation and Feeding America. D’Amato is also a guest lecturer at the MIT Sloan School of Management and other area universities.
Carol Tienken has been Chief Operating Officer of The Greater Boston Food Bank since 1999 responsible for driving business strategy, operational efficiency, research and replicable distribution programs. Prior to joining GBFB, Tienken was at Polaroid Corporation in Domestic and International Marketing for 18 years. She also was an employee member of the Polaroid Foundation for five years, working on grant responses for the Boston-Area Community Committee.
Carol serves on the board of directors of the Newmarket Business Association and is an active member of its Issues Committee and is a member of the YMCA Board of Directors of Malden, Massachusetts. Tienken grew up in sub-Saharan Africa as the daughter of an American diplomat and received her Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology and MSJ in Magazine Editorial from Northwestern University.
Pranita Amarasinghe joined the Greater Boston Food Bank as Chief Financial Officer in December of 2019. She is responsible for Finance, Accounting and IT operations.
Prior to joining GBFB, Pranita was the Chief Operating Officer at Boston Senior Home Care (BSHC). In addition, Pranita has worked in senior positions at several non-profit organizations including Central Boston Elder Services (CBES), Cambridge Housing Authority (CHA), New England Organ Bank (NEOB) and the Mentor Network. Her major accomplishments in these positions include creating new programs to move tenants out of public housing at CHA, establishing new fiscal policies and procedures at NEOB and streamlining processes and creating efficiencies.
Pranita is a seasoned financial professional with over 30 years of experience with both non-profit and for-profit organizations. Her expertise includes budgeting & forecasting, management reporting, international financial reporting, multi-national audits, cash management, staff supervision, IT management and contract negotiations.
For-profit experience includes the multi-national retailer, Gap, Inc. At Gap, she managed $2 billion in fixed assets through consolidation of multi-national accounts.
Pranita received her financial training at Ernst & Young (E&Y). She earned both an MBA, and a BS in Business Administration, from Notre Dame de Namur University in Belmont, California. She is a Certified Public Accountant, licensed in California and member of the Massachusetts Society of CPAs.
Arlene Fortunato joined the Greater Boston Food Bank as Senior Vice President of Advancement in 2017. Arlene has a wealth of experience including serving as Senior Advisor to former Mayor Thomas M. Menino; Senior Vice President and Director of Public Affairs for Citizens Bank; Chief Development Office of the Kraft Center for Community Health Leadership; and a successful entrepreneur and small business owner of Fortunato Consulting Group, which specialized in building the capacity of nonprofit organizations.
Arlene has been recognized for her contributions to the nonprofit sector as the MA AFP Development Professional of the Year, a member of the YWCA Academy of Women Achievers and named among Top 10 Professional Coaches in Women’s Business Magazine. Arlene has been on many nonprofit boards and currently serves as Vice Chair of the Board of The Dimock Center and on the Advisory Committee of the Equality Fund at The Boston Foundation.
Cheryl Schondek is the senior vice president of food acquisition, supply chain and volunteers at The Greater Boston Food Bank, overseeing the acquisition and distribution of all food, as well as managing the food procurement, warehouse, building, facilities, logistics, volunteers, and transportation teams. Since joining GBFB in 2014, she and her team have grown GBFB’s food acquisition by more than 90% and increased the volume of fresh food for clients in Eastern Massachusetts.
Previously, Schondek worked at Shaw’s/Star Markets managing perishable, nonperishable, private brands, supply chain, and product management. Schondek has received numerous recognitions including the Griffin Report Women of Influence in 2010, 2015, 2019 and 2020. Schondek is active in the food industry, chairing the GBFB Food Industry Council; president of the New England Food Foundation; member of the Network of Executive Women; founding member of the New England Produce Council; member of the Board of Directors for Hope and Comfort; and Executive Board Member of the Network of Executive Women – New England Region.
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